Last updated: March 31, 2020
The ODA has created this FAQ to help answer some of the most common questions being asked by dental professionals.
Frequently Asked Questions
1) How is the ODA advocating for dentists and the profession during the COVID-19 pandemic?
2) Who ordered the closure of dental offices in Ontario?
3) What qualifies as essential or emergency treatments?
4) How can I make ends meet while my office is closed?
5) What is the ODA doing about redistributing PPEs to emergency medical facilities?
6) What happens to Oral Health Month?
The ODA is committed to supporting its members and their dental teams in several ways.
- We participate in daily briefings with the Ministry of Health to monitor and understand the evolving situation with respect to the guidance that we give to members.
- We work closely with the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario (RCDSO) to coordinate efforts and communications to make sure dentists get the latest consistent and reliable guidance.
- We regularly update our members with employment resources to help them deal with the financial impacts of dental office reductions/closures on them and their teams.
- The ODA is part of a COVID-19 Response Team that includes executive directors and staff from the Canadian Dental Association (CDA) and other provincial dental associations. The goals of the Response Team are to share information and discuss ways to support Canadians and the dental profession in these challenging times.
- The CDA is in ongoing direct contact with several federal government departments to explain the challenges that are faced by dentists and their teams due to the many disruptions brought about by the pandemic.
The ODA has also been assessing and looking for clarification on the various federal and provincial financial support initiatives that have been announced to develop guidance for dentists and their teams. This will most likely include details on the newly announced Canada Emergency Response Benefit and Ontario’s Action Plan. We hope to provide you with more information soon.
Only the Ministry of Health has the legal authority to close dental offices, and so far, they have not. On March 16, 2020, the RCDSO – the regulatory body for dentists in Ontario – strongly recommended that all dentists suspend all non-essential appointments, including check-ups, non-emergency or cosmetic procedures. The ODA supported this recommendation. For more information on RCDSO guidelines, visit their website.
In dentistry, a “true emergency situation” includes oral-facial trauma, significant infection, prolonged bleeding or pain which cannot be managed by over-the-counter medications. Guidance on how to manage emergency cases can be found on the RCDSO website.
The federal and provincial governments are acting to offset the financial hardship Canadians may experience during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Prime Minister and Canada’s Finance Minister introduced the new Canada Emergency Response Benefit and additional measures to support small businesses. Additional details are expected in the coming days.
Ontario’s Minister of Finance released Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19 and announced measures to support people, families, workers and employers, including:
- One-time payment of $200 per child up to 12 years of age, and $250 for those with special needs, to help families pay for the extra costs associated with school and daycare closures.
- Property tax reassessments being conducted this year for the 2021 tax year have been postponed.
- The Ontario government also announced an end to Time-of-Use electricity pricing during the COVID-19 outbreak. Effective immediately, electricity will be priced at "low-peak" - 10.1 cents/kwh - at all hours of the day for the next 45 days.
The ODA is reviewing the plan and will have more information on how this will affect dentists and their teams.
In the meantime, please check the Federal COVID-19 Economic Response Plan: Support for Canadians and Businesses to see what financial support is available to you.
The ODA is working with its local component societies and other organizations to coordinate PPE donations for emergency dental clinics, hospitals, long-term care homes and public health units. There’s a lot of interest in the dental community to help out, and we’re keeping dentists updated on how they can.
Since we don’t know how long these distancing measures will be in place, it’s still critical that dentists who are treating emergency cases maintain the stock of PPE required. If they can’t perform emergency treatments, patients could seek help at their local hospital and that would cause even more strain on an already overloaded medical system.
ODA Members who are able to contribute to the ODA’s ongoing PPE redistribution efforts can learn more here.
The ODA has postponed its advertising campaign for April and is looking at other ways to promote oral health during the pandemic, including a downsized social media campaign. Stay tuned!